Spied: 2018 BMW X3 Benchmarked Against Porsche Macan

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The third generation of Munich’s luxury compact SUV’s development has reached the point of evaluation against its rivals.

The Porsche Macan we caught tackling the snow along the all-new BMW X3 is the obvious choice, as it is currently the best in its class. Its reign won’t last for long, though, if BMW has its own way.

Set to launch in the second half of 2017 as a 2018 model, the all-new X3 will be up to 100 kg (200 pounds) lighter in spite of its dimensions being slightly bigger than today’s model. This is achieved thanks to the new scalable CLAR platform that debuted on the 7-Series.

It will be offered with a wide range of four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, in both rear- (sDrive) and four-wheel (xDrive) versions. Judging by the runs, we’d say that the engineers are comparing the G01’s (its internal codename) AWD drivetrain against that of the Macan in very adverse conditions to ensure it bests it.

Of course, both premium compact SUVs will spend most of their lives on tarmac and that’s where the X3 will have to beat its acclaimed rival from Stuttgart in ride and handling.

With Porsche launching a 2.0-liter turbo four Macan, it has made it more enticing to a much wider customer range. BMW has a full arsenal of four-pots to counter this, and of course its straight-sixes to target more upscale, V6-powered versions of the Porsche.

Even the Macan Turbo is in the X3's crosshairs, as for the first time ever, there’s a strong possibility that it will get an M version powered by the M3/M4 twin-turbo six with around 500 hp.

So, Porsche has been warned; the rest of the pack, like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Lexus NX, will also have to face the newcomer. Considering the breadth of talent and the booming sales in the segment, this should be interesting…